The novel coronavirus has infected a Iranian vice president who was a spokeswoman for the 1979 hostage-takers.
According to local media, Masoumeh Ebtekar, considered the most powerful figure in Iranian politics, was said to have caught the virus this week.
Yesterday during a meeting with members of Iranian cabinet she was seen seated near President Hassan Rouhani . It was said that Ebtekar’s condition was normal and she wasn’t even admitted to hospital. Her report came to light when today the former Vatican ambassador to Iran, Hadi Khosroshahi, died of coronavirus.
The report came from the English-language IRAN daily newspaper via its Twitter account.
Ebtekar is the latest in a string of Iran’s top Shiite theocracy officials to have contracted the virus.
Mojtaba Zonnour, head of parliamentary security and foreign relations committee, said he has also tested the virus positively.
Yes my corona check is positive and I’m in quarantine too,” said Mojtaba Zonnouri in the video. “Our country must prevail with the will of God in the war against the corona.”
The diagnosis of Harirchi was an embarrassment to the regime after claiming a day earlier-while sweating heavily at a press conference-that the epidemic was not as bad as it was expected.
The Mideast’s hardest-hit nation is Iran, where on Thursday Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced 26 deaths out of 245 recorded illness cases.
Iran’s death toll is the maximum outside of China, in which the December outbreak started, with more than 82,000 cases worldwide and more than 2,800 deaths.
Experts are worried that, due to the rapid spread of the illness from Iran across the Persian Gulf, Iran may be under-reporting cases and death.
Considered the most influential female in Iranian politics, Ebtekar is seen as a moderate in President Rouhani’s reformist government.
She said she regretted the isolation that followed the crisis of 1979, but remained unapologetic, saying the students were persuaded that the US was planning a coup in order to reverse the revolution.
When fears of coronavirus spread engulfed the world on Thursday, Saudi Arabia prohibited foreign tourists from visiting the kingdom to attend the holiest sites of Islam, possibly upsetting the plans of millions of faithful ahead of Ramadan’s Muslim fasting month and as the annual hajj pilgrimage looms.
The announcement reflected the growing concern about the virus across the Mideast as Iran reported that more than 100, now to 254, infected cases have spiked in the region. So far a total of 26 people have died, it said. That drives total cases in the region to above 350.